Because fans should be critical, too

Announcement: Finished Final Episode of Book Three…

…but I won’t be able to share my thoughts until later this evening. On one hand, it’s because I must go to work. On the other hand, I’m still trying to piece together my thoughts on the season. On the other other hand, I need some distance from the initial viewing experience. The end of this season left me exhausted, exhilarated, and deeply, deeply depressed. I’m still trying to figure out why. Hopefully by tonight, I’ll be able to articulate these lasting impressions.

In the mean time, I’ll really happy to see everyone discussing their own feelings on the season. Even the disagreements are civil and respectful. Keep it up, my friends! I can’t wait to join in!

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7 responses

  1. These are my basic thoughts which I have copied and pasted from discussions with friends on Facebook…

    “It would if been so poetic, in Tenzins final moment. He finally left the shadow of his father. He did something Aang couldn’t, he was responsible for bringing back the air nomads.”

    “Jenora has surpassed Tenzin spiritually already. Which was why I wanted Tenzin’s swan song to happen. Right now Tenzin is in a way living under the shadow of his daughter again. He could of permanently escaped it by giving up his life.”

    “It was weird that Zaheer learnt to completely deattach himself the second his girlfriend died. Maybe she was the last attachment he had to this world.”

    “Season 4 will be a season of huge growth for Korra. Korra has always defined herself by her physical ability, she will have to rebuild her identity to cope with this.”

    “Could you argue that the air benders bringing Zaheer to the ground symbolised how their bonds for each other over come Zaheer’s deattachment to Earthly worries.

    Does communal love overpower isolation and individualistic pursuits?”

    August 23, 2014 at 9:30 am

  2. Hmmm do you mean depressed In a good way or a bad way?

    August 23, 2014 at 9:57 am

  3. rosemon

    Seems that Korra’s move to online wasn’t due to the Mexican leak or the darker tone of the latter half of this season.

    http://nerdistwriters.libsyn.com/legend-of-korraavatar-the-last-airbender

    This is the first time Bryke candidly talk about the live-action ATLA.

    August 23, 2014 at 10:22 am

  4. Ian

    I’m glad you felt something during this season finale! I hope that depressed thing wasn’t because of writing or character stuff, because this season…truly felt like a masterpiece to me…

    Ok, maybe that’s a bit far but my point is is that this season of Korra is not only my favorite of Korra OR AVATAR. But I actually think its genuinely better than any season of Avatar! (Avatar is literally my childhood in a nutshell so that’s a big thing for me to say that anything from Korra is better than it)

    Everything. Worked.

    I don’t want to go on to long, so I will try to be brief on everything that was great about the season.

    CHARACTERS: KORRA finally comes into her own as the avatar, a friend, and as a leader and impact on this world that the avatar is supposed to be. Shes hotheaded for sure at times, but its justified by it being towards the right people (earth queen or Raiko) or just to be a joke (Ryu)(who actually gets pay off by the end of the season!) Shes more lovable and relatable than shes ever been and I can safely say she is a truly fantastic main character who I was CONSTANTLY rooting for in the finale, also her bending has improved tremendously as well and I was glad we didn’t have a Unalaq problem where she was beaten to a pulp until finally Jinora saved the day. Jinora still helped but Korra landed the final blow which was smart usage of Jinora.

    MAKO is finally likable and I couldn’t be happier. Hes a dork this season and its done SO wonderfully, that you cant help but sympathize with his dorkiness. Hes also given some fantastic fight sequences and you can really see how far Mako has come and has a genuine love for his brother and his friends. Hes also the straight man of the group, balancing out Korra’s hotheadedness and Bolin’s goofiness.

    BOLIN is still funny and PJ Byrne is just a fantastic voice actor. Bolin gets a good plot about him not metalbending and, for once in the avatar world, is not able to pick up the skill you expect and instead gets an even better ability, Lavabending! Bolin also got to be usefull, in terms of battles, in defeating P’li and holding his own against Ghazan. His relationship with Opal is cute and causes Bolin to have some serious conversations and maybe for once a relationship that doesn’t end in heartbreak for him. Also him shutting Zaheer up was great.

    ASAMI got to do things… and it was fantastic! We all love Asami, she is the only character of the Krew that really didn’t need tweaking, so it was smart move to give her a legitamate friendship with Korra and getting to be the one to save the day in some situations. Shes really the humble side character who is never truly given the spotlight in any of the seasons, so when we do see her fight or do anything, we are instantly glued to the screen.

    TENZIN is a BOSS! Ok but seriously, We finally got to see Tenzin kick some serious butt and it was intense and sooooo satisfying (please talk about it in your review cause I could go on for a while about how much I loved Tenzin being able to take on Noob Zaheer and 2 out of 3 of his crew all at once!) On the character side of things we got to see Tenzins enthusiasm about rebuilding the air nation and his relationship with his brother and daughter is explored and gives Tenzin some lessons to learn as well as Bumi and Jinora. Tenzin was also very funny this season and gave us some great comedic moments in the early episodes. Tenzin was already great from the seasons start so anything added to his character was welcome 🙂

    JINORA got a love interest that was cute and also a nice subplot about her want to get tatoos and become a master. Her astral projection ability is a nice upgrade to her arsenal and the way she takes charge in the finale (in a non deus ex machina fashion) and rallies the airbenders really shows her growth as a character.

    LIN finally got back to being the tough strong willed cop we got from book 1 and is given some much needed back story and character growth with her sister. Finally we have someone Lin can love and truly care for and I’m glad its her sister. Lin also got some good action this season.

    As for the side characters Ill only quickly say talk about them

    KAI is a likable thief who becomes a noble airbender by the end of the season and I think his arc was done well, hes not the best character or to incredibly deep, but I like that the first airbending recruit was a snarky kid who was humbled and truly came to appreciate airbending and its culture.

    SUYIN was a a welcome surprise to the cast who was not only the leader of an entire clan but was given a lot of back story and time spent with her, that by the end of the season I felt like she had been there since the beginning of the series. Love her. also she is the nicest person in the universe and I’m glad she didn’t turn out to be evil like everyone thought.

    OPAL is fine, I enjoy her interactions with Bolin and find their relationship genuinly good stuff. She didn’t do to much in the season as a whole but Im ok with that as it feels like she will be back in book 4.

    Now for our villains… and hoo boy are they something

    Each one of them is given a personality to some extent and even if you are unsatisfied with the little back story we are given on them, then their fighting styles should satisfy you.

    ZAHEER is very interesting and intimidating, his Anarkist intentions are interesting and well thought out. What all of the villains this season have in common is they are all sympathetic. Zaheer losing his only earthly attachment in P’li was pretty heartbreaking as the animators draw his reaction with such horror. P’LI (who I feel was the weakest of the group) was very intimidating and I loved how she was used as the tank of the group. GHAZAN was initially the most forgettable of the group but as the season progressed he gained a personality and charm to his character, you really do feel the desperateness in his voice when he says he is “never going back to prison” line. He also gets some of the best lines, “Guess he doesn’t need a ride” (as Zaheer supermans away). Finally we have Ming Hua who while forwarding the opinion in my head that disabled people literally are the best fighters in the avatar world (which is great) she was also very creepy and the most aggressive of the group. Shes also pretty funny at times “Why didn’t you tell us you could fly?”

    WOW, this went on way to long. I apologize, but I hope just from how much their is to talk about the characters and how well they were pulled off should tell you how much I love this season! Every character was given something to do or a moment to shine, ALL OF THEM. Desna and Eska got a cool fight and funny dialogue, Varrick got to be comic relief and move the story along at points, Tonraq got to have a cool fight and some heartfelt moments with Korra, which builds on their relationship through the seasons. Bumi got some development and we see him use his leadership skills, Kya got to be the coolest aunt around by getting to fight both Zaheer and Ming hua, and Pema got to have a conversation with Tenzin that meant something to what was going on in the story!

    Also Zuko and Iroh were there… that was nice.

    I love this season, If you made it this far I applaud you and I hope you guys will have some interesting opinions that either differ or agree with mine.

    Either way, please reply 🙂

    August 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

  5.  

    I watched the finale twice and a thought came to me. At the end, when Korra is sitting in the wheelchair, I think she realized that the role of the avatar is coming to an end. It goes back to the visions she was having when Zaheer put that venom in her. I was convinced of this after hearing Tenzin say that the new air nation would keep the balance. I think korra knows now that she’s working towards the end of the role of the avatar and I bet by the end of this show the avatar will no longer be needed.

    August 23, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    • If they do indeed go there with this, I would forgive all the narrative missteps in season two, because suddenly those events, as haphazard as they played out, would have real significance in contributing to the overarching them of the entire Korra series, tying all four seasons together, and the show would finally rise to the same level the original series did when seen as a whole. Hell, that theme is even more mature than the already-weighty stuff the original series dealt with, and might even edge it out for its audacity.

      August 25, 2014 at 5:23 am

  6. ItalianBaptist

    Watched through the whole season and the finale yesterday; here are my thoughts.

    I did NOT come into this season with high hopes. Book 2 was atrocious and the sudden resurgence of airbenders felt like a deus ex machina and the story hadn’t even started yet.

    The entirety of Season 1 feels like one big “pilot episode”. It is so disconnected and inconsequential that it’s like Amon never existed. The rare moments they discuss those events feel so forced, but I’d much rather hear about the Equalists than any more about Unalaq.

    TOO MUCH DIALOGUE. I don’t want to watch people discuss battle plans. If I did I’d read a book. Just show me the action already!

    Part of Bumi’s charm was that he was a nonbender living in a bender’s world and trying to get along as best he could. It’s cool and all but his sudden airbending is almost contradictory to his character.

    I really have no opinion of Kai surprisingly. Do we really need another tragic backstory (In my Korra/Attack on Titan crossover I revamped Eren, Mikasa and Armin into orphans in part because “That’s what Bryke would’ve done”) and if so, do we really need it exposited to us? As noted in the Desert, show don’t tell! I had little reason to care for Kai as a character.

    The Lin/Suyin subplot was for the most part masterfully written. Characters were given much needed emotional depth….and I liked Anne Heche as Su’s voice actress (again, for the most part).

    Bolin was mostly an annoyance, but as someone who struggles with insecurity I could relate to the whole metalbending subplot and his nervousness around Opal. If Opal were a more interesting character I would have loved to have seen more chemistry between them. The lavabending at the end was a bit predictable but I actually hope they use it to develop his character next time.

    I had hoped that the same people who would make me care for Desna and Eska last season would give me more development with the Red Lotus. Unfortunately I was wrong. Ming-Hua in particular was just begging for backstory (because handicapped buttkickers are awesome – Toph ;), but why do any of the others beside Zaheer support the cause??? As another commentator pointed out, they seemed more like bad OC drawings (I was gonna say fanfic OCs but at least Mary Sue has a personality – these were just blank slates) rather than real characters…

    Until I saw P’Li’s end. Something about the way they handled her final moments was both cinematic and chilling. A character who I had absolutely no interest in I suddenly cared for. That is what good animation is all about.

    There have been some gruesome moments in the Avatar series before, but the deaths of the Earth Queen, P’Li, and Ming-Hua really seemed to bring Korra out of kid’s show territory. I know they don’t claim this, but it really makes me ponder the reason Nickelodeon moved it to online-only.

    Zaheer’s final plan with Korra was simple yet brilliant. Use an intense poison to force the avatar state as a defense mechanism then off her. It’s so Azula of him. Unfortunately it loses its punch in part because though there is a new Avatar cycle, the original one was already broken last season (which I loathed). I miss Aang and Kyoshi and Yangchen, even Wan 😦

    The final battle between Korra and Zaheer was intense and it reminded me of Aang vs. Ozai. Probably just the hopping from cliff to cliff details but much better than the “kaiju showdown”.

    I know it’s a kid’s show but I can’t think of a whole lot of villains in this series more deserving of the death penalty than Zaheer, and what does he get? Bolin sticks a sock in his mouth and he gets put back in prison. He’s already demonstrated he can break out once before…why not just finish the job?

    I don’t know what to think about leaving Ba Sing Se’s fate open-ended. It’s certainly closer to real life where “everything doesn’t get neatly wrapped by the end of the show” (Michael W. Smith), and I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s addressed in Book 4. It doesn’t look like they’re going to wash their hands of it like they did with the bender-nonbender conflict.

    Seeing Korra both physically and mentally broken at the end hit me very deeply for some reason. It might have to do with the fact that I have struggled with depression myself so it felt very personal. I’m very interested what Marshall meant by his being deeply depressed at the end. Is it that same feeling of disappointment as the book 2 finale, or does seeing Korra’s “final state” hit too close to home like it did with me?

    August 23, 2014 at 8:40 pm

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